Friday, October 15, 2004

Mary, Mary II

It looks like Bush may actually be picking up a point or two after the debate. Some of this may be due to Republicans just being relieved by Bush finally putting in a competent performance. But it may be also due to Republicans hyping Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney.

A few thoughts on this:

1. Unlike journalists and political junkies, many voters may have been unaware that Mary is gay until Kerry mentioned it. They may have thought that Kerry was "outing" her when he was doing nothing of the kind.

2. Homosexuality is still an uncomfortable issue for many voters, particularly older people. Especially when it involves someone's children. (How many voters know that Mary is in her thirties, and hardly a "child" in any but the biological sense?) They may be annoyed by Kerry's bringing it up and forcing them to think about it. (But even unbigoted voters may have found Kerry's statement just kinda weird and out of place. I know I did).

3. Republicans are successfully spinning this not as a gay issue, but as a "Kerry will say anything" issue and as a violation of family privacy. (Although, once again, Mary's hardly private about her sexuality).


Anonymous said...

Where was the outrage when Alan Keyes called Mary Cheney a selfish hedonist because she's a lesbian?

The outrage expressed by the Cheney family seems insincere. It was probably a mistake for Kerry to use Mary Cheney as an example, and I don't expect he did it to weaken Bush's homophobic base, those guys would never vote for Kerry, but Mary Cheney is the highest profile gay that has been mentioned in politics all season.

Anonymous said...

First, a disclaimer: I am not a John Kerry supporter by any stretch of the imagination. My absentee is in the mail for Bush. But as a relatively younger person who grew up, attended school, and now works professionally with openly gay friends and colleagues, I thought Kerry's answer was a perfect rebuttal to Bush's "You know Bob, I don't know" if gay people choose to be gay.

Mary Cheney should end this discussion once and for all. I only want to know what she thought of the remark, not Lynne, and not Dick who act as if Kerry spilled the beans on some sort of embarrassing disease.

Mary is a great role model; she travels with her partner of many years, wears a wedding band, ran gay/lesbian outreach for Coors, and now Dick Cheney's campaign for crying out loud!

Solomon Wolfson
Los Angeles, CA

Thomas said...

It seems to me that this isn't much different from the events of 2000, where Al Gore was judged to be the winner of the debates in the insta-polls, but Bush was able to make effective use of conservative themes to build his support in the polls. I think the repeated invocation of the tax cuts, the repeated warnings of a government takeover of health care under a Kerry administration, and the repeated discussions of contentious social issues (guns, abortion, immigration, racial preferences) all worked to Bush's advantage. Whether they'll be sufficient to win the election remains unclear, as it was last time.

Anonymous said...

My outrage over Kerry's comment regarding Mary Cheney had nothing at all to do with Mary's sexuality or whether or not she was "out". Bringing up family members in that debate was a horribly cheap attempt to demonstrate a wedge between the Vice President and the President. Mary Cheney was a useful tool for Kerry, even though she should have remained out of bounds.

But since family members may be brought into the debate, as long as it is done in a smarmy self-righteous way, Bush should discuss the problems the children of divorce face. Then point out that Kerry's two daughters should understand this well, since kerry divorced their mother--his first "step up".

Democrats act surprised about the outrage, but that is just an act. They know that Kerry stepped out of bounds, but will never admit it.

jaws said...

First off, I didn't really like the question that was posed to the President in the first place. I basically saw it as the President being asked is homosexaulity "biology [genetics] or behavior"

Granted, I'm a neuroscience student, so the biology vs. behavior question is a big topic within the field, and one of much controversy. In as much, I don't necessarily expect a politician to have answer to a question like that.

But less I digress, I don't think Kerry's remark was tasteful, especially in terms of the debate. I think it's also unfair to bring in Cheney's daughter when her father can't defend her (at the time).

As for the first commenter, about Alan Keyes mentioning it, I don't think many people listen to him in the first place, even within the Republican party.

Anonymous said...


With all due respect, Mary Cheney is a grown woman and doesn't need Daddy to defend her - especially when there's nothing to defend; she's perfectly comfortable with who she is.

Solomon Wolfson
Los Angeles, CA